Does COVID-19 Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

It seems every time we turn around, new data pops up about the COVID infection. 

That’s because, with time, researchers learn more about the infection. 

The latest studies shed some light on the infection’s repercussions on erectile function. 

The question is, does the COVID virus cause erectile dysfunction? 

We decided to dig a little deeper and collect the latest evidence. Here is what experts have to say. 

Yes. There is a close link between COVID and erectile dysfunction. Based on 2021 data from the National Institutes of Health, the infection is expected to be linked with greater odds of erectile dysfunction (ED). 

Because of how easy it is to transmit the infection, this dysfunction could be a worrying consequence for a portion of the population. 

The Connections Between COVID, Erectile Dysfunction and Male Sexual Health

Experts are collecting the facts on COVID and erectile dysfunction in COVID patients. The goal is to get as much data as possible on sexual dysfunction, male fertility, and general sexual health. 

From the currently available reports on this widespread viral infection, researchers found three main factors that could trigger the onset of erectile dysfunction. These include:

  • The psychological impact of poor mental health: The COVID pandemic has profoundly impacted mental health. Especially in patients who survived the whole ordeal. 
  • Based on a cohort of 402 patients, COVID survivors had a high prevalence of mental unrest, with 55% having at least a single disorder. Many people experience major depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Depression can cause erectile dysfunction. 
  • Blood vessel damage from the virus: Abnormal or normal erectile function can often be a tell-tale sign of heart disease
  • A man with severe erectile dysfunction has a bigger chance of having heart problems. That’s how we know that the reproductive system and vascular system are intertwined. 
  • Contracting COVID can lead to hyperinflammation of the entire body. Particularly the heart and its nearby muscles. This can hinder blood vessel function and blood flow to the penile tissue. The infection can worsen any small blood vessel damage. 
  • Plummeting overall health: Men with poor health are more likely to have erectile dysfunction. Since the viral particles of COVID-19 can lead to a plethora of health issues, your overall health can suffer. With severe COVID, the odds of that happening are much higher. 

What the Studies Say

“Mask up to keep it up.” – This is the latest advice from the National Library of Medicine.

As the hallmark of endothelial dysfunction, ED can be a long-term or short-term complication of the coronavirus. COVID vaccination paired with personal protective equipment may create an added benefit of avoiding the dysfunction. 

Although the coronavirus predominantly affects the lungs, it can also affect the cardiovascular system. It can lead to arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), and myocardial damage. It can also affect the vasculature (blood vessel network) both indirectly and directly. This can lead to tissue damage. 

Underlying endothelial dysfunction is a typical denominator of many clinical aspects of a severe coronavirus case. A subsequent endothelial dysfunction can upset the balance in the human body. Endothelial cells are responsible for releasing substances that manage vascular contraction and relaxation. 

Alongside enzymes that control immune function, blood clotting, and platelet adhesion. This dysfunction is a key component of heart failure. 

Widespread endothelial dysfunction tends to affect more female patients than men. But, men can still develop it and experience chronic chest pain. 

Unfortunately, severe cases of the coronavirus could also impact sperm count. Thus potentially interfering with fertility and reproduction. 

A notable percentage of male patients also experienced swollen testicles after getting infected with the virus. Reports show that roughly 10% to 22% of men with acute COVID developed orchitis, possibly because of a direct infection to the testicles. 

Another trial showed that testes in a COVID-infected patient had mild lymphocytic inflammation and decreased Leydig cells. These cells are important testicular cells and the primary source of androgens and testosterone in men

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When COVID took the world by storm a while ago, experts immediately started studying the repercussions of the disease. The latest reports do show that the coronavirus can trigger testicular dysfunction. We don’t know if the dysfunction is just temporary or will persist after recovery from COVID.

Although erectile dysfunction or the impact on male infertility may not affect every patient recovered from COVID, it is still a consequence to consider. The fact is, we still have much to learn. 

While a link between COVID and erectile dysfunction may seem likely, researchers need to further investigate the connection and its impact on dysfunction. A COVID vaccine seems to be a viable choice for reducing the odds of infection. 

There is evidence that COVID can damage the vascular system. Which, in turn, may hinder sexual activity and lead to erectile dysfunction. 

More studies are necessary to determine whether it can lead to a pretty severe erectile dysfunction. 

Stress, depression, and anxiety from COVID pose a set of challenges. For those who suffered from coronavirus, the whole experience can drastically impact their mental health. 

The psychological impact can also affect their erectile dysfunction and mood. This can make it challenging to manage the dysfunction. 

However, do have in mind that the studies on sexual function and COVID, including its impact on lasting erectile dysfunction, are small sample sizes. This means more data is necessary to look at the variables and come to a conclusion. 

Natural Ways to Improve Erectile Function

For men who prefer natural methods to improve erectile function, here are some practical ways you can better your sex life. 

  • Eat the right kind of nutrients. Eating veggies, fruits, whole grains, and fish can benefit erectile dysfunction. While eating extreme amounts of refined grains and processed goodies can throw all your efforts down the drain. Some of the most recommended vitamins to include in a diet are vitamin D, B3, and B9. 
  • Incorporate physical activity. Exercise can create a positive impact on sperm quality. Even 30min of walking a day can decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction by 41%. 
  • Keep vascular health in check. Elevated cholesterol, unstable blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides can damage the arteries. Sometimes, this damage can affect the circulation to the penis and lead to dysfunction. So, tune-up via your lifestyle choices to keep the vascular system in tip-top shape. 

If you are looking for a more notable natural alternative, talk to a doctor. They may suggest you take supplements or vitamins that can benefit erectile dysfunction. 

But, it’s best to consult with a specialist first before you add any changes. That way, you can better manage the dysfunction. 


Erectile dysfunction is already a pressing issue for many men, and COVID only made it more apparent. 

From the currently available reports, it seems that the coronavirus can result in erectile dysfunction. Even if the dysfunction won’t affect every man that recovered from the virus, it’s still important to know about the possible repercussions.

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  1. Hsieh TC, Edwards NC, Bhattacharyya SK, Nitschelm KD, Burnett AL. The Epidemic of COVID-19-Related Erectile Dysfunction: A Scoping Review and Health Care Perspective [published online ahead of print, 2021 Sep 20]. Sex Med Rev. 2021.
  2. Mazza MG, De Lorenzo R, Conte C, et al. Anxiety and depression in COVID-19 survivors: Role of inflammatory and clinical predictors. Brain Behav Immun. 2020.
  3. Sansone A, Mollaioli D, Ciocca G, Colonnello E, Limoncin E, Balercia G, Jannini EA. “Mask up to keep it up”: Preliminary evidence of the association between erectile dysfunction and COVID-19. Andrology. 2021.
  4. Evans PC, Rainger GE, Mason JC, Guzik TJ, Osto E, Stamataki Z, Neil D, Hoefer IE, Fragiadaki M, Waltenberger J, Weber C, Bochaton-Piallat ML, Bäck M. Endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19: a position paper of the ESC Working Group for Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology, and the ESC Council of Basic Cardiovascular Science. Cardiovasc Res. 2020 Dec.
  5. Gavriilaki E, Anyfanti P, Gavriilaki M, Lazaridis A, Douma S, Gkaliagkousi E. Endothelial Dysfunction in COVID-19: Lessons Learned from Coronaviruses. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2020.
  6. Nassau DE, Best JC, Kresch E, Gonzalez DC, Khodamoradi K, Ramasamy R. Impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on male reproductive health [published online ahead of print, 2021 Aug 17].
  7. Yang M, Chen S, Huang B, Zhong JM, Su H, Chen YJ, Cao Q, Ma L, He J, Li XF, Li X, Zhou JJ, Fan J, Luo DJ, Chang XN, Arkun K, Zhou M, Nie X. Pathological Findings in the Testes of COVID-19 Patients: Clinical Implications. Eur Urol Focus. 2020 Sep.

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